18th February: Hokkaido – Lake Kussharo (Kotan)

Spa at Lake Kussharo

Instructions for the spa

We stopped at a tiny hamlet called Kotan near the southern end of Lake Kussharo in the centre of Eastern Hokkaido.  This is a natural open air hot springs at the edge of the lake with a man-made hot spa, males to the right, females to the left and a line of rocks in the middle.  Instructions on a board nearby warn against excessive divestment of clothes. But this is not how it used to be.  I saw a historic photograph nearby that showed a mixed group of naked people soaking in an undivided pool, probably in the 1920s.

Rocks, tree, swans and ice

Whooper swans at Lake Kussharo

You might be thinking “it’s not a very large body of water to be called a lake” but that’s not it.  Most of the lake is covered in ice and it goes right across to the distant mountains.

Whooper swans

Whooper swans

Of course, the water at the side of the lake is warm because of the hot springs and that’s why the swans are there.

I went for a short walk beside the lake and in places struggled through quite deep snow.  I took all the images in this thread with my pocket camera, a Fujifilm X100.

Juyo Original House

Back near the bus, I found this ancient house that doubled as a local museum and a shop for hand-carved souvenirs. Inside was the wood carver, a charming gentleman who spoke good English.  I bought a small carved owl to take home.  You can see a couple of wooden owls at the peak of the roof.

8 comments on “18th February: Hokkaido – Lake Kussharo (Kotan)

  1. […] 18th February: Hokkaido – Lake Kussharo (Kotan) […]


  2. Miho says:

    These photos are divine!


  3. Dugutigui says:

    The man’s kinship with the natural world is reflected in his dreams. Fantastic pictures! I’m also trying hard 🙂
    Hope you like them.


    • Murray Foote says:

      Thanks very much.

      Yes, I see you’ve got some great Patagonian views, mainly of Perito Merino and Ushuaia. The glacier was a lot closer to shore than when I was there.


      • Dugutigui says:

        I’ve been there in three different occasions and still not getting tired going back. And every time was different, with arch, without, closer…


      • Murray Foote says:

        I think you were very lucky to see the arch. Even luckier for someone to see the wall breach. (Note to others reading these comments: We are talking about the Perito Merino Glacier in Argentina, a rare glacier that is not receding, that reaches to the other side of the lake every few years and causes a huge flood when the lake water piles up against the glacier and causes a breach: https://murrayfoote.com/2011/03/20/82/)


  4. […] owl is on the wall of the Juyo Original House, as in the previous Kotan post. Walking […]


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